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Checkins: Fun and Now Profitable Too

Brands such as Starbucks and Dominos have pushed the concept of location-based marketing a little further with hard incentives. Starbucks has introduced its first-ever national mayor special with Foursquare that rewards consumers - specifically, mayors that have checked in to the Foursquare location-based network at Starbucks outlets - with dollar discounts on frappucinos. In the UK, Dominos has a Foursquare promotion running that offers free pizzas and discounts to Foursquare users who check in at its locations.

Now other less visible brands are following suit - and stepping up the concept a bit by rewarding customers for frequenting them through these networks through formal rewards programs.  Tasti D-Lite, for example, has rolled out TastiRewards, a rewards program for customers to associate their Twitter and Foursquare accounts with their Tasti D-Lite membership cards. Customers can use Treat Cards - which also double as gift cards - to earn points for purchases, but those that opt in to the social media bonuses will automatically earn additional points, Mashable explains. Their Twitter and Foursquare accounts also get updated each time the card is swiped and points are earned or redeemed.

Bigger Picture

It's the bigger picture that is significant for marketers, Mashable says as programs like these are an efficient way to tie social media to the bottom line.

"Imagine the data that Tasti D-Lite can now collect, analyze and apply to budget discussions around allocating resources to social media efforts. Will the company get accurate accounts on the quantity of tweets and checkins with card swipes? Absolutely. Can it quantify those social media updates with sales figures? Yes. Plus, it can track change over time, as well as the influence of these TastiRewards tweets and checkins as it pertains to growth of the program."


Another example is WeReward, a mobile app launched by social media firm IZEA that offers money to users for checkins.  Basically, users snap a picture of themselves at the site and post it on Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare. Then they get paid - usually a penny per point but businesses can set other rates. One thousand points nets $10 through Paypal. Right now it is only available on the iPhone, but next month it is coming out on the Droid, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

"Our model is everyone gets compensated with cash," Ted Murphy, IZEA's founder said via the Sentinel. "What gets listed is based on who is willing to pay [users] the most." Businesses like the data the app provides such as who checked in, how much they spent, other stores the users went to and what they bought there. Businesses could even contact the person through Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare, the Sentinel says.

The app also allows products to be listed - such as Jones Soda. Uses take a photo holding a sold anywhere and get a point.


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